Tag Archives: Sailing cruisers

The Canoe Yawl, by Richard Powell

The Canoe Yawl: From the Birth of Leisure Sailing to the 21st Century by Richard Powell from publisher Lodestar is great news.

There’s a lot of talk discussion about canoe yawls and a great sense that they are to be admired in the forums and magazines – but why and what’s the story? Probably for a couple of decades I’ve felt that a clear analysis of the type and a description of its history was sorely needed – and now we have it.

Canoe yawls were originally developed from sailing canoes in the late 19th century, in order to allow amateur sailors to sail in the conditions often found on UK’s estuaries and coastline.

Our weather is changeable and, even with modern weather forecasting it is still unpredictable in small boat sailing terms: for example, the wind is often a force stronger than predicted. Many small boat sailors have learned at first hand that shallow estuaries full of channels have strong currents and that as soon as the wind against the tide, the chop may become so fierce that beating to windward becomes nigh-on impossible unless you can creep into shallows. (You need to be an unusual sailor to manage this stuff and it helps to have the time available  to wait for suitable weather – read about Gavin Millar’s sailing canoe round the UK attempt.)

But back to the canoe yawl. What does the type offer? In this book, Albert Strange Association technical secretary Richard argues that the canoe yawl is still the best type for single- or short-handed coastal cruising sailor, and that a revival of interest in recent years underlines his point.

Why? You’ll have to read the chapter ‘Why the canoe yawl‘ for the full story, but in his preface Iain Oughtred says the rig ‘is particularly user friendly; the spars are short, the centre of effort is low, and the rig is quickly and easily shortened down or adjusted according to the conditions. In a sudden hard gust, the boat,  although heeling considerably, will remain balanced on the helm, and will not screw up into the wind in the way a tall bermuda rig is inclined to do… the double-ended hull has a lot to do with its good behaviour… These boats have a comfortable and reassuring quality… ‘

I think most folks would also agree that canoe yawls are usually very attractive little vessels.

For the princely sum of £15, this volume of 160 well illustrated pages is a fascinating read. Read a sample here. Buy it from all good nautical booksellers or directly from publisher Lodestar.

 

 

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A fifth edition of Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by T Harrison Butler

Product-Shot-Cruising-Yachts-510x679

In more good news from Lodestar Books… Dick Wynne’s fabulous imprint has released a fifth edition of the classic Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by metacentric theory protagonist and talented amateur yacht designer (and professional ophthalmologist) T Harrison Butler.

Dr Butler’s designs were built in numbers that ran into the hundreds a good number of which still grace our seas. Cruising Yachts is his design manifesto and first appeared in 1945—the year of his death.

The new edition has been produced in collaboration with the Harrison Butler Association, and is a complete re-setting of the original text, drawings and mono photographs, and documents in detail HB’s approach to the design and equipping of a yacht, an annotated catalogue of notable designs and a biographical portrait by the designer’s daughter, the late Joan Jardine-Brown (see a photo of Mrs Jardine-Brown in an earlier post).

There are also a modern gallery of colour photographs of the yachts, and a foreword by the late Ed Burnett, who was regarded as a foremost designer of modern yachts in the classic English idiom.

My parents’ photos of the Norfolk Broads in 1956

  The Broads in 1956 31

 The Broads in 1956 38 

  The Broads in 1956 7

  

These old Ilford transparencies found in a box belonging to my father Brian Atkin show the Norfolk Broads in 1956.

It was a time when my parents were young, both sailing cruisers and motor cruisers were made from timber, the boat hire companies had quaint old sheds, everywhere – including Wroxham Bridge – was much more peaceful, and I was a little boy still in his cot.

I haven’t included it in this post because of its quality, but one of the shots shows a sprit-rigged Thames barge on the Broads. Nowadays, that sounds pretty unusual, but I’m prepared to bet it was a frequent occurrence years ago.